For Latinos, the upcoming presidential election is critical to keeping the health care currently provided to many through the Affordable Care Act [ACA]. Democrats, led by then President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, drafted and helped pass the ACA, one of the most significant pieces of legislation of their eight years in the White House.
Because Latinos wish to keep their health care program [ACA], the upcoming election is far more meaningful to Latinos than the 2016 race in which they gave Hillary Clinton a 65% to 29% edge over Trump. Biden hopes that Latinos will be as enthusiastic about his election as they were about Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012 when Latinos voted for Obama by a margin of 71% to 27% in his presidential reelection campaign.
In 2016, the Latino vote helped Clinton in several states, but not in the key battleground states of Florida and the midwest. For Biden to win, Latinos will have to turn out in record numbers in the midwest and help the Democrats win Florida and Arizona. In Florida, there are
3.1 million eligible Latino voters, and Arizona’s Latino voters number 1.3 million.
The 2020 race is significantly different from 2016, or any other presidential election for that matter. The Trump administration has challenged ACA [often referred to as Obamacare] and succeeded in the lower courts. With the support of Trump’s Justice Department, another Obamacare case will be heard by the Supreme Court shortly after the November 3 elections. With the untimely passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Trump’s conservative appointees to the Supreme Court may overturn Obamacare.
. During this pandemic period, the need for
assistance in covering health care costs is especially critical. Among all ethnic groups, Latinos have the least health insurance coverage. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted that “Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group within the United States. In 2017, the Census Bureau reported that 49.0 percent of Hispanics had private insurance coverage, as compared to 75.4 percent for non-Hispanic whites.”
Many Latinos work in service and semi-skilled industries where health insurance is not provided. Many
are self-employed or earn a living as day laborers or contract workers. Latino Decisions, one of the leaders in Latino opinion polls, noted that persistent attempts by the Trump administration to end Obamacare, will only produce a “source of resentment among Latinos.” Latino Decisions noted that “more than 72% of Latinos in 2018 reported feeling very angry about GOP efforts to cut access to health care.”
The Washington Post pointed out on September 27 that “Trump has long promised his own health-care plan.” Trump recently announced that he would “take steps by executive action coverage” to protect pre-existing conditions. But as noted by key Democrats, protection of pre-existing conditions is already included in the Affordable Care Act, and Trump’s executive order is not binding.
The Trump administration and many Republican state attorneys general are asking the courts to dismantle the entire Affordable Care Act. The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on the law for Nov. 10, one week after the election.
Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsbury to the Supreme Court may spell trouble for those counting on the Affordable Care Act for their family’s health care. Judge
Barrett’s appointment would give conservatives a 6-3 edge on the Court. According to the news site Axios, Judge Barrett “wrote in 2017 that Chief Justice John Roberts betrayed the tenets of conservative legal analysis when he upheld [approved] the Affordable Care Act.”
In recent polls, the Washington Post found that interest in the election has climbed to near-record levels, with nearly 6 in 10 registered voters saying they are following the election “very closely.” This is a higher voter interest than in any other presidential contest at this time in the election cycle dating back to 2000.
Both presidential candidates are counting on a large turnout of their supporters. A Washington Post recent poll found that “among all non-White voters, Biden leads by 53 points, 76 percent to 23 percent.” Specifically among Black registered voters, “Biden leads Trump by 88 percent to 9 percent, similar to Clinton’s margin but slightly lower than the support Barack Obama received in his 2008 and 2012 campaigns.” Trump is counting on a large turn out of white male voters without a college degree, who currently support him over Biden by a margin of 23 points.
While Latino voters are considered crucial to the Biden campaign, most polls, with the exception of Telemundo, do not provide information on their
election-day preferences. That may change as we get closer to the November 3 election day. Previous polls showed that Latinos favor the Biden-Harris campaign.
Latinos count heavily on the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid for access to health care and do not wish to see those health programs go away. With predictions that the Covid-19 health crisis will continue for several more months, if not years, now is the time to expand health care programs and increase the number of Latino families covered rather than take away programs that help Latinos.